Appointment of Pakistan ambassador Munir Akram at UN faces backlash

Appointment of Pakistan ambassador Munir Akram at UN faces backlash

ISLAMABAD - The crucial Appointment of Pakistan ambassador Munir Akram at United Nations in place of Maleeha Lodhi faces backlash.

The decision by Pakistan to appoint a former diplomat as its ambassador to the UN link sparked criticism over his alleged involvement in a domestic violence dispute in 2002.

Munir Akram “has been appointed as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York, in place of Dr. Maleeha Lodhi link,” the country’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement late Monday.

Akram served a previous stint in the post from 2002 to 2008.

But in January 2003 the United States asked Pakistan to waive Akram’s diplomatic immunity so that he could be prosecuted on assault charges.

According to press reports, New York police were called to Akram’s home on December 10, 2002 by a woman who alleged the envoy had beaten her.

The woman told police dispatchers that the envoy had smashed her head into a wall, that her arm hurt and that he had hit her before, according to the newspaper accounts.

The case could have had potentially embarrassing diplomatic ramifications.

At the time, Pakistan was a key US ally in the war on terror, and had just taken up a seat on the UN Security Council, which was then considering whether to authorize military action against Iraq.

Akram, who enjoys full diplomatic immunity, was never charged.

Even so his return to the post ignited a swift backlash Tuesday, many from women angered over the decision.